Thursday, December 20, 2007

Failure to Communicate

We have so many ways to "reach out and touch someone" these days. Phones, cell phones, internet, e-mail, snail mail, name it, we can do it. But does this easy access to communication actually make it happen? No, not at all. They are just tools of communication, and they still rely on our initiative and action.

I have been surprisingly busy right through this month. Not swamped, but not idle, either. I delivered the fifth order in the last two months to a local shop. I love working with this shop owner. If she needs something or has a question, she picks up the phone, or shoots off and e-mail. And the easy flow of communication has paid off nicely with all the sales she has generated with my work. It never takes more than two contacts by either of us to make something happen.

On the other hand, I am awaiting to hear from another customer about a pending order. I know they want early January delivery, but still no order giving more details about quantities. Will I spend Christmas in my studio,....... or will I have some time to spend with my family while they are off from school and work? I want it to be the later, but the delay in getting information creates anxiety. I have called. I have left messages. I have spoken with people. Still, no order. Just the promise of an order. I am making product for them, but will it be enough?

I am not the best person at communicating, so I am willing to cut some slack to those who also struggle to make that phone call, or get the letter out. But, when I have to call again and again, and I get no response, I end up frustrated by the experience. Good communication means much more than finding the right words. It has to involve action.

I am seeing first hand how valuable clear and open communication is between our accounts and ourselves. There is a delicate balance between regular communication and person's regular check-in could be considered pestering by another. Understanding expectations, and working to keep open communication can make the difference between a good relationship and a disaster.

Do you find you struggle to find a balance in communication with your customers or galleries? Or have you managed to find the balance? And how do you manage the unresponsive?

If I was to pick one area to work on in the coming year, this might just be it. Do you have one thing that needs a little extra attention? Perhaps a goal for the new year. Now is a good time to start thinking about where you want to go and what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Accomplishments do not always have to be about getting a certain number of new accounts, or doing such-and-such a show. Sometimes setting goals to work on things that present an on-going challenge can do more to help our business get stronger than focusing all our energy on the externals. Something to think about in the next few weeks.....


Loretta said...

I'm with you on this one, Judy. I have friend who says it's no problem and I look at her like she's got 2 heads. For me the phone calls can be such a stressor, that I often put them off...bad choice. It doesn't decrease my stress and makes the situation all the more urgent, tenuous, out of control. So, I'll make the resolution with you. Thanks for the nudge.
And while I'm at it - let me communicate a Merry Christmas and a Happ, Healthy New Year to you and yours.
kisses loretta

Judy said...

Thanks Loretta! Here's hoping that your 2008 turns out to be as wonderful as it looks like it could be. Hugs!